Drinking coffee has a long history of being seen as bad for your health. However, recent research now suggests that coffee may not be so bad for us after all.
So which is it, good or bad? For most of us, the answer is the health benefits of drinking coffee will likely outweigh the risks. In particular, recent studies have generally found no connection whatsoever, between coffee and any increased risk of cancer or heart disease.
This is a u-turn from previous studies, as it now appears that these earlier studies didn’t always take into account that the known high-risk factors, such as smoking and a lack of exercise were more common amongst heavy coffee drinkers, at that time. It might come as a surprise therefore, to find that there seems to be a range of health benefits that comes from drinking coffee also.
Newer studies have shown that coffee may have benefits such as protecting us against Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers and some cancers. Coffee also has a high content of antioxidants, which are know to protect us from the damage of free radicals.
Studies have also shown that coffee is a very good pre-workout drink because drinking a cup of coffee before exercise provides more than just an added energy boost. Several studies have demonstrated a link between caffeine intake before exercise and increased athletic performance. Perhaps the greatest benefit of having coffee before a workout is its fat burning properties. Coffee when consumed before exercise can cause fat cells to be used as an energy source.
The high amounts of caffeine in black coffee will also increase our metabolism, which makes us burn more calories throughout the day. Having coffee before exercise enhances that effect. Caffeine and other compounds found in coffee act as an appetite suppressant, making us consume less overall.
However, as we have come to expect, it’s not all-good news as the research also suggests that drinking coffee can come with some health risks too. High consumption of unfiltered coffee is associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels and caffeine intake of four to seven cups of coffee a day, can cause problems such as restlessness, anxiety, irritability and sleeplessness.
Also, we must bear in mind that coffee accompaniments such as cream and sugar add fat and calories to our diet. The key point to remember is the old adage of everything in moderation.